Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Out and About: Ladies Trip to Madinah on Saptco

We take our own posts quite seriously so after writing the post about the spring break we decided to act on some of the things on the list. Well, more precisely the 1st one that was a trip to the holy cities.

Mom is in town and since I am on my spring break we decided to take advantage of this time. To make it a bit more interesting we decided to go by bus. When my parents were residing here we always followed the same ritual of going to Medina. We would leave by car on Thursday after Asar since that was a weekend. And after the Friday prayer will head back to Jeddah. We had our own traditions of where to eat, where to shop, the stop overs etc. I remember following this routine for almost 10 years, so when I first moved back and didn't had this routine, it felt wrong. But like what life does best i.e. "it moves on" I did too and started making my own little traditions and rituals.

So here is how my trip to medina went with my mum. I had either went on a car or by plane to Medina before but one of my colleague had visited Medina by bus and the way she mentioned seemed very easy so I wasn't very hesitant.

We left our home around 9.40am, took a taxi from my place and told the driver "Ballad Saptco". The first taxi driver apologized but we got lucky with the 2nd driver. He asked for 25sr but I think there is no place in Jeddah where you have to pay more then 20sr so we bargained and he agreed. The saptco station is quite a busy place. One because its in ballad, a hub for shopping especially for people who come for Ummrah and secondly you can find local drivers and cars to go to different cities including Makkah, Medina, Riyadh, Taif etc. Upon entering the station you will find a row of counters but in that whole row only two counters had people working in them. Taking your iqama, if you are an iqama holder and your passport (if on a visit) is a MUST.  For expats the presence of mahram is not necessary, its easy for women to travel alone. We went to one of the counter and said "Medina ithnain (two)" and the guy replied "Return too" in English, which was a pleasant surprise cause we've seen too many unpleasant incidents at the airport due to lack of communication on both ends. Anyway things are changing and hopefully for the betterment of all. We got a ticket for 11am. Its 47sr. one way and we bought for return too. I think its extremely reasonable. They have a big waiting area on the right of the counters and then a women waiting area on the end of right hand side.





 Cleanliness and upkeep of the place sadly wasn't really good. There are few things that will never be understood by me and one of which is being one of the richest country in the world, why things are the way they are in terms of the infrastructure of this country. I have been invited a lot of time to Saudi homes and most of them always have immaculate taste in décor, and cleanliness. So how come its not translated in there public places, where you truly get to show your culture in its best form :(.

Anyhow.. it took us almost 5hrs. to get to Medina with half an hour rest at a rest house. Again it wasn't the best or the cleanest, but we were quite tired and just prayed our Asar, took a cup of tea and came back to the bus. The Saptco station is just 10mins away from the masjid. Once arrived in Medina, we walked toward the masjid and started looking for a room. It was quite a busy time and usually I book a room before hand through Booking.com but I think I was getting too adventures. After almost 30min. of room searching we finally got one. It was 5mins. away from the women gate #25.



The rest of the trip was just the same, with praying and staying at the Masjid. Going to the Rodah which still needs lots of organization in order to make it less chaotic, but when you think of the amount of people they have to cater on daily basis and from soooo many different backgrounds you kind of feel sympathetic. I actually would ask the visitors here to show some respect and patience. I have seen many a times, women being unruly in such a holy place, pushing and going over other people just to get a little ahead. We all should remember that our reason for being there is prayer, we are in the place where Prophet Mohammed made the people of Makkah and people of Medinah brothers, emphasizing the relations with fellow human beings. If we forget that lesson of all the places in Masjid nabawi, if we are not respectful of other people or our surrounding what good is our ibadah.

 One more interesting and nice thing that I saw this time around was a flyer outside the masjid that tells you in order for you to follow the Friday sermon in English or Urdu (I only saw these two flyers, not sure if there were any other language mentioned too) you can add a frequency in your mobile radio and listen to it while in the Masjid. I think its a great initiative and let your experience even more spiritual.



The journey back was quite similar and smooth. After the checkout we walked back to the saptco station and since we had our ticket from before, we went straight into the bus and 5hrs later back in the comfort of our home. It was a lovely experience so Inshallah will make a visit to Makkah and most probably via the bus :)

3 comments:

  1. It was a nice event conducted by the Pepsi. Thanks for the making the blog post

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  2. Assalam-O-Alaikum
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